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David Murphy waiting to learn fate with Red Sox

SARASOTA, Fla. -- David Murphy has hit about 400 fewer home runs than David Ortiz. But he also has played more than 1,100 games in the big leagues and appeared in two World Series, all of which adds up to a career that is not to be sniffed at.

Yet as Ortiz prepares to enter a season in which he likely will be feted at ballparks across the country before he retires, Murphy quietly packed his equipment bag Saturday and walked out of a spring-training stadium in Florida after what may or may not have been his final game.

So much for a farewell tour.

Last month, Murphy, a 34-year-old outfielder, signed a minor-league contract with the Boston Red Sox, his original team, with the stipulation that he could opt out and elect free agency if he isn't added to the big-league roster by Sunday.

Well, Sunday is nigh, and Murphy said the Red Sox have not yet given him an idea of what to expect when he reports for work in the morning.

"I had something like two at-bats in five or six days when we didn't have an off day and we had all those East coast [of Florida] trips," Murphy said after going 0-for-3 with a walk against the Baltimore Orioles in a spring in which he is 9-for-32 (.281) with a .669 OPS. "Does that mean that they've seen me plenty? Or does that mean that they needed to get other guys at-bats? That's kind of the only indicator. But still, even with that, I don't know if I'm leaning one way or the other. It'll be good to have some clarity."

One thing Murphy knows for sure: At his age, and after batting .283 with 10 homers and a .739 OPS last season in 132 games for the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels, he isn't willing to go back to the minor leagues.

The Red Sox don't have room for Murphy in an outfield that includes Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo, Chris Young and utility man Brock Holt. And unless third baseman Pablo Sandoval (back) opens the season on the disabled list, which does not yet seem likely, there isn't a spot for Murphy on the bench, either. The Sox could try to convince him to go to Triple-A and await an opportunity in the big leagues, especially with veteran outfielder Brennan Boesch sidelined for two months with a fractured wrist, but Murphy doesn't seem to find that idea appealing.

"I'm interested in winning a World Series," he said, "and you can't do that in the minor leagues."

If Murphy asks for his release, he will have an opportunity to sign anywhere. And perhaps there's a team that passed on him as a free agent during the offseason that now has a more acute need for a lefty-hitting outfielder with a .274 career average, 104 homers and a .765 OPS.

Otherwise, in all likelihood, Murphy will call it quits, a scenario that he insists hasn't been heavy on his mind over the past few weeks.

"It really hasn't," he said. "I feel like, I don't know, with as crazy as the offseason was and having a pretty decent year last year, I felt like if I took care of business [in spring training] that good things would happen. And as well on the reverse side. If things didn't end up the way that I wanted them to, then that was part of my thinking, like maybe it's time to consider walking away. Because at the age that I am and just where things are, it's not like there's a ceiling to be reached."

Regardless, Murphy will soon have a resolution. And no matter what, it won't be anything like Ortiz's.